Operators of Nigeria’s biggest container terminal, AP Moller Terminals Apapa, have proposed tax incentives and robust sensitization to drive private investments for modern port infrastructure across the nation.
The Chief Financial Officer of APM Terminals Nigeria, Courage Obadagbonyi, made this remark while speaking as a panelist on a session on ‘Financing Maritime Assets – Ports and Shipyards’ at the just concluded Nigeria International Maritime Summit (NIMS) 2022.
He noted that Nigeria has great tax laws that incentivize investment and encouraged the provision of such framework for port infrastructure investments.
Obadagbonyi’s words: “I am of the school of thought that funding of viable infrastructural projects is not an issue in terms of availability of cash. There is a lot of private equity and multilateral funding available if the projects are well positioned and investors have line of sight to their payback. I think what we need to do is publicity and sell these projects to the right individuals with the right pockets. There are incentives that are available to investors in Nigeria.”
“I think with more publicity and engagement with private stakeholders, a lot of some of these challenges that are bedeviling us with investing in port infrastructure can be fixed. For instance, we have great tax laws that incentivize investment in this country. Things like pioneer legislation, Infrastructure and Roads Tax Credit Program which companies like MTN and Dangote have used to successfully build hundreds of kilometres of roads and bridges across the country can also be replicated in the ports. We also have great capital allowance provisions that encourage investors.”
Noting that the country’s debt profile currently stands at N42trillion, which is about four times the country’s total revenue budget per annum, he advised the Federal Government to embark on massive awareness campaign to attract private capital to the nation’s seaports instead of borrowing.
Obadagbonyi stressed that Nigeria had to find creative ways to unleash private sector participation in port rehabilitation instead of depending on government funding through borrowing.
APM Terminals Apapa, the largest container terminal operator in Nigeria, has invested more than $438 million at the Lagos Port Complex Apapa. The amount was invested in developing infrastructure, acquiring equipment and improving processes at the terminal. The terminal has also been in the forefront of digitisation of port operations in Nigeria in line with its commitment of introducing new innovations to help both shipping lines and landside customers achieve improved supply chain efficiency and flexibility in a cost-effective manner.
The NIMS 2022 held on Monday and Tuesday this week. It was declared open by the Minister of Transportation, Engr. Mu’azu Jaji Sambo and the event was also graced by the Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Mr. Kitack Lim.